National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP)

The National Defense Program Guidelines sets forth the basic policy for Japan's defense, the significance and role of defense capabilities, and the basic guidelines for future defense capabilities, which include matters such as the specific structures of the SDF and the target for the procurement of major equipment.

Since FY1958, Japan has been progressively upgrading its defense capabilities based on four defense force development plans. In October 1976, the National Defense Council and the Cabinet decided on the first NDPG (the NDPG for FY1977 and Beyond) to clarify the level of defense capacities that Japan should possess and to provide guidelines for Japan’s defense capability development. Subsequently, the Security Council and the Cabinet decided on the NDPG for FY1996 and Beyond in November 1995 in response to major changes in the international situation, including the end of the Cold War, and rising expectations for the SDF and its international activities; the NDPG for FY2005 and Beyond in December 2004 in response to the rise of common issues for the international community, such as international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles; and the NDPG for FY2011 and Beyond in December 2010. Since FY1986, Japan has developed, maintained, and operated its defense capabilities according to the Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP), a five-year plan formulated based on the NDPGs that shows the total amount of expenses for the term and the quantity of major equipment to be procured. In December 2013, the National Security Council and the Cabinet approved the first National Security Strategy, the NDPG for FY2014 and Beyond, and the MTPD for FY2014 to FY2018.

The 2018 NDPG formulated on December 18, 2018, states that Japan will henceforth build a truly effective defense capability, “Multi-Domain Defense Force,” which: can execute cross-domain operations, which organically fuses capabilities in all domains including space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum; is capable of sustained conduct of flexible and strategic activities during all phases from peacetime to armed contingencies; and is capable of bolstering the ability of Japan-U.S. Alliance and promoting security cooperation. This approach to building a truly effective defense capability is also to be embodied in the MTDP.

[Reference]“National Defense Program Guidelines for FY2019”